ECONOMY

Taxes on fuel to be made equal

The special consumption taxes on heating and automotive diesel will be leveled as of January 15, following a long process of consultation with all market parties affected, the government said yesterday. «The equalization will pose absolutely no burden on households, which will continue paying the reduced tax on heating fuel that applies today, that is, -21 per 1,000 liters,» said Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis. Successive governments have long and unsuccessfully tried to stop the illegal practice of heating fuel being sold for automotive diesel, which deprives the state of hundreds of millions of euros in consumption taxes which are pocketed by the vendors. The two types of fuel differ only in color for distinguishing purposes. The plan envisages that when diesel is sold to households for heating, the receipt will indicate that 1,000 liters, for instance, have been sold for 1- per liter, that is, -1,000.The special consumption tax (SCT) due, -272, plus the -52 of VAT on SCT will be deducted, leaving the ultimate price for the consumer at -676. The receipts will bear the particulars of the buyer, who may be the manager of the apartment block, and the code for the electronic payment of electricity bills to the Public Power Corporation (PPC). All such data will be sent via e-mail or fax by the fuel seller to the responsible department of the Finance Ministry, which will cross-check the data and reimburse the vendor with the tax difference. «The tax difference will be returned to the vendor by the government after they submit a list with fuel purchases and sales. All quantities will be cross-checked at all stages following their clearing through customs,» said Alogoskoufis. Farmers, who are entitled to fuel at the reduced rate, will pay the full tax to begin with and will be reimbursed for the difference through their bank accounts.